[Ed. Note. Take action to save wolves.]
By Katy Sword on DailyEvergreen.com
Wolf hunting has always been a hot topic, especially among farmers and the elder generation in Idaho. For some reason, Idahoans, prefer to spend their free time shooting animals. The issue for the past several years has been that Grey Wolves were on the Endangered Species List due to their excessive slaughter and near extinction. This has caused problems for people eager to go out and kill something. However, to farmers and hunters’ delight, on May 4, 2009, the Grey Wolf was removed from the Endangered Species List in Idaho, Montana and a few other regions in the Western states, meaning hunters are now able to grab their shotguns and shoot the next wolf they see.
While I think this is wrong, it is allowed. However, aerial shooting, where people shoot animals from an aircraft, is not allowed. Not only does this allow for maximum ruthless kills, but it has already led to the death of more than 1,000 Grey Wolves since 2003. Though this has not been a problem in the lower states yet, one farmer decided to get the ball rolling.
On June 5, 2009, Carl Ball of Idaho saw four wolves outside a sheep pen. As he was flying overhead, he shot at them while the wolves were leaving the area. Ball claims that because he has a hunting license, pilot’s license and an aerial gunning permit, so he thought he was in the clear, despite noticing that one of the wolves was wearing a radio collar.
The Idaho Fish and Game Department think the main issue at hand is that Ball did not have the legal right to shoot the wolves from the sky. The issue of concern should be that people are already hunting wolves just because the law permits them to do so. It has not even been six months since they were removed as an endangered species, and people are ready to kill them off again. There are only 5,000 Grey Wolves in the lower 48 states, and between 7,000 to 11,200 in Alaska. If there were this few of any other animal, animal rights advocates would be rallying night and day to protest the wolf hunts. But because wolves are seen as an animal that kill livestock and are unwanted, contrarian views are ignored.
If we were to start hunting animals barely clear of being an endangered species, they would go right back on the list. We would not have done this with the Bald Eagle. Eagles are also predators, but their stature in society protects them from the eager guns of hunters. It should not be an animal’s perception that determines if they get to survive or not. If people continue to stay on the path of hunting animals recently deemed non-extinct, the animals will not have a chance to thrive. They will go right back on the Endangered Species List, allowing them to repopulate before they return to the hunters’ crosshairs. Hunters are creating a vicious cycle that not only is cruel but stems simply from their thirst for the kill.
Residents of Idaho have commended Ball for taking the first shot at a wolf. He should not be applauded, but chastised for shooting an animal just because he can. This kind of conduct cannot be justified by claiming wolves are killing livestock and running amuck. Especially with the backing of Idaho Governor Butch Otter – who bid for the first wolf tag – farmers and hunters will not have to suffer the torment of wolves much longer. If they are lucky, wolves will join the ranks of the Golden Toad, the Caribbean Monk Seal and Baiji River Dolphin.